Day 19

Fashion

SPONSORED BY EILEEN FISHER & INDIGENOUS

OVERVIEW

Take two very simple actions that we perform every single day: getting dressed and eating. Now start a journey backwards – to where your food and your clothes come from. At the other end, you will rarely find happy people, treated with dignity and respect. Human beings working at the bottom of any supply chain – whether it is strawberry picking, prawn fishing, cotton farming, garment workers – are often treated like slaves, without reference to our common humanity.  So “fashion” – i.e. what we wear every single day, has huge relevance and huge consequences on human, social and environmental capital.” ~ Livia Firth, Creative Director of Eco Age, Founder of Green Carpet Challenge, and Executive Producer of The True Cost

Take a moment to consider what you’re wearing today. Do you remember where or when you bought your cozy hoodie, favorite jeans, go-to t-shirt, or other wardrobe staples?

Now, instead of considering what you’re wearing, think about who you’re wearing. Who picked the cotton for your t-shirt, sat at the sewing machine, dyed your jeans, all to produce your clothing? In the world’s least developed countries, an estimated 40 million people sew more than 1.5 billion garments in 250,000 factories and sweatshops each year. In many cases, these workers are not provided with basic workers rights; fair wages and ethical working conditions.

We live in a world of “fast fashion,” where companies churn out high volumes of low-priced clothing at the expense of workers and the environment. Companies like Zara and Forever 21 process 1 million garments per day. Imagine the resources – both human and otherwise – required for such operations.

Cotton, one of the fashion industry’s most used materials, is among the most pesticide-intensive crops on the planet. It’s estimated that one pound of cotton requires at least one-third of a pound (136 grams) of pesticides. To put this into perspective, it takes half a pound (227 grams) of cotton to make your average t-shirt. Plus, cotton requires more water than most other crops – to produce one pair of jeans alone takes more than 1,800 gallons of water. All in all, the $3 trillion fashion industry is the second most polluting industry, just behind oil.

The good news is that great work is being done to level the playing field. Non-profits like Fair Trade USA and Responsibility in Fashion are telling a different story, one of hope and sustainability. Designers, like our partners Eileen Fisher and Indigenous, prioritize human rights, worker rights and ethical supply chains as guiding principals of their businesses. Ethical fashion is finally taking hold of the industry.

As a leader in the sustainable women’s apparel industry, Eileen Fisher, says it this way, “Our work is about the product, people and planet and the choices each one of us makes every single day.” As a company, Eileen Fisher has set a goal they are calling Vision 2020, which “works towards further improving the social and environmental impact of their supply chain.” To put that commitment into perspective, currently 92% of the cotton used for their apparel is organic, as is 83% of their linen. Their goal is to use 100% organic fibers for each by 2020.

And as Indigenous puts it, “there’s no need to sacrifice fashion and style to be a good global citizen.” Through their commitment to fair trade partnerships with culturally diverse artisans, Indigenous, transparently and equitably shares the revenue generated from selling premium, organic, fair trade clothing. They “strive to lift the lives of the persons who produce the clothing and ensure they work under safe conditions.”

Looking toward the future, designers have proven that they can make fashion forward clothing from sustainable materials including organic cotton, tencel, bamboo, hemp, and soy silk. Unlike conventional fibers, these materials use less water and pesticides, and contribute to healthier people, communities and thus our planet.

It’s up to you to drive the demand for ethical fashion; saving money by shopping secondhand or investing a little more to support responsible fashion, YOU as the consumer can push the market towards transparent, organic, and fair trade clothing. Check out The Good Trade’s Fashion Guide for brands, products, and ideas to get started, and read today’s good reads here and here.

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

THINK

The average American throws away almost 10 pounds of clothing each year. But there are many ways you can keep clothing out of landfills. One way to be sustainable and stylish is to opt for second-hand shopping/vintage or upcycle clothing you already have by giving it a second life. How might you prioritize ethical clothing in your daily life?

 

CHALLENGE

  • After watching today’s video and reading the infographic, define fast fashion (max 50 words)
  • Assess your role in the fashion industry.
    • What brands do you currently buy? Check your labels.
    • Where do you shop?
    • Are you contributing to fast fashion? Tell us how or how not. (Don’t worry – you have to acknowledge something before you can fix it). (max 50 words)
  • What changes can you make to become a more sustainable shopper?
    • Are there alternative brands or stores that you could choose? Share one sustainable shopping option in your community.

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF document with your responses. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

 

Submission Guidelines

  • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
  • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2016.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2016.
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

THINK

Does your favorite shirt have a label that says, “made with 100% pesticide-sprayed cotton, chemical dyes, and/or sweatshop labor?” We doubt it! How can consumers really know what goes into making that favorite t-shirt? Knowledge is power, so be curious.

 

CHALLENGE

Now that you are beginning to understand the impact of conventional cotton and other chemical-laden materials on people and planet, let’s look more closely at your favorite shirt.

  • Check the tag inside the shirt. What kind of information does it provide (aside from cleaning instructions)?
    • Record the brand name, materials used, and where it was produced.
  • Research the impact this item may have had on the people who produced it and the environment. Write down what you find. (max 100 words)
  • Be bold and wear your shirt inside out for the day to give the small-tag details the attention they deserve.
  • Whenever anyone tells you that your shirt is inside out, tell them that you’re involved in PGC and start up a conversation with the information you have learned about the fashion industry.
  • Was anyone surprised to hear why you were wearing your shirt inside out? What were their reactions? What information did you share with them?
  • Post a great picture of yourself on Instagram or FB wearing your inside-out shirt. Caption the photo with the tag details, its impact on workers and the environment, and why you’re wearing the shirt inside out. Use the hashtags #PGC2016, and #whomademyclothes and tag @TurningGreenOrg, as well as @Fash_Rev, @livia_firth, @TrueCostMovie (the forces driving this change and campaign!), and @indigenousdesigns and @eileenfisherny.

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF document with your responses. Include a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

 

Submission Guidelines

  • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
  • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2016.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2016.
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greenest

60 POINTS

THINK

Film is a powerful tool for getting information in the public debate – and one documentary, The True Cost, allows its audience to truly grasp the fashion industry’s toll on people and the planet. It’s time to witness the impact firsthand, become aware, and then mobilize!

 

CHALLENGE

  • Gather a few friends and watch the eye-opening 90 minute documentary, The True Cost, on Netflix and other media outlets
  • Following the screening, host a Q&A with your friends. Gauge their reaction to the film by asking them the following questions (or some of your own):
    • How would you sum up your thoughts in a sentence?
    • How will you shop now?
    • What can you do to spread the message about the impacts of fast fashion to friends and family?
    • What did you take away from this film?
    • Add two more compelling questions.
  • Summarize your friends’ comments as well as answer the discussion questions yourself in a paragraph or two.

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF document with your responses. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

 

Submission Guidelines

  • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
  • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2016.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2016.

 

The deadline for entering this challenge has past.